June 24th, 2007
12:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Passions high on immigration ahead of Senate vote

(CNN)–Two leading voices on immigration reform legislation before the Senate held firm in their beliefs on Sunday.

Senator Edward Kennedy, a key supporter of the bill, said it was the best way to address the issue. "This bill is the only bill that is out there, and if we fail to pass this legislation, which is tough, practical and fair, we are going to have silent amnesty in this country." The Democrat from Massachusetts made comments to reporters following an appearance on ABC's "This Week." "We're not going to deport the twelve and a half million undocumented here, that would cost two hundred fifty billion dollars and buses from Los Angeles to New York and back. That's not going to happen. We ought to pass this bill. We know what the opponents of this bill are against. What we don't know is what they're for."

Senator Jeff Sessions, a leading critic of the compromise legislation, said starting over was the best course of action. "This is totally unacceptable. A comprehensive immigration reform should reduce illegality eighty and ninety percent at least in my view." The Alabama Republican also spoke to reporters after appearing on the same program. "So I think that it makes it an unacceptable piece of legislation. We just got to go back to the drawing board and work out something that will be effective and validate the promises being made to the people."

The measure would create a guest-worker program to let migrant workers from other countries work temporarily in the United States, a plan that critics have said would create a permanent underclass of poor, low-skill workers.

But the bill's most controversial aspect is the creation of a pathway to legal status and eventual citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country - a plan critics denounce as "amnesty."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, yanked the bill off the floor June 7 after supporters failed to muster the votes necessary to cut off debate on a series of amendments that were nibbling away at political balance the bill's authors had managed. Senate leaders agreed to bring it back after reaching a deal to consider about twenty amendmendments, split evenly between Democratic and Republican proposals.

The bill faces a test vote in the Senate this week.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Immigration • Senate
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Renae Jones

    I applaud Senator Obama for speaking out against the demagoguery of the religious (primarily evangelical) right. They have, indeed, hijacked our country, starting with George W. Bush and his cronies nearly 8 years ago. But, no, wait! Bush actually courted THEM and sold out this country's basic constitutional imperative of separation between church and state. But wait! Why does that surprise us? He also lied to his country so he could wage war in Iraq. And he vetoes stem cell research for the sake of "sanctity of life," never mind the sanctity of the lives of those killed in Iraq and elsewhere. But here's the good part: They deserve each other and will surely "reap what they sow." Personally, I can't wait until they're all colored "Gone"!

    June 24, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. James Houwen Omaha Nebraska

    Is it only now that Public Officials recognize this is an invasion and an act of war, from abroad, and individual acts of traitorism, against the US by US Businesses?

    Or do they know this at all?

    Military force should be used to defend the Country and it's Borders. It's, after all their Job, right, National Defense?

    And the FBI should be working overtime to prosecute businesses that employ illegal aliens, after all they are the main criminal element that profits from the whole scenario, at the expense of law abiding citizens.

    Lastly, the government officials and agencies responsible for avoiding this issue for so long, and maintaining the damage by killing funding needed to properly enforce National Laws, need to be identified and held accountable.

    This pity party attitude for the poor illegal needs to stop, it's not a humanitarian issue it is War on the Citizens of the United States, and those Citizens deeply feel it's effects.

    Of course legal immigrants are needed. And welcome. Illegals, by nature, have by their first act, become criminals who invade. And their children are not rightly Citizens either.

    June 24, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Elaine Suhre

    Go to our Congressional website, click on Dana ROHRBACHER and read his comments of June 6, 2007 given on the Congrressional floor.

    I am with you Dana. Lead us on.

    June 24, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. Travis, Lehi, UT

    Just answer one question Kennedy: Why should we believe this bill would be enforced? Simple, sad fact is that it wouldn't. Sure there are provisions and language, blah blah blah. You won't enforce the "teeth" of the bill and everybody knows it. Senate and President have zero credibility on enforcement. Zip, Zilch, nil, nada ...

    June 25, 2007 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  5. Tatiana Gonzalez North Tonawanda, NY

    An incovienient truth about immigration

    American Sweatshops in Latin = mass illegal immigration

    Many basically echo what Dobbs, Barletta and Tancredo have said when they ask ‘what part of illegal don’t you understand’. A simple question, but when the dust of anti-immigration hysteria settles, this simplistic question will prove to offer less enlightenment than hoped.

    Hardly anyone would argue that America has the right to protect its borders. But what is fundamentally wrong with this simplistic question that Lou Dobbs and others have presented is that it ignores the root causes of this massive immigration influx. Has anyone asked what the typical working conditions in Latin America are? All Latin American countries offer long work days 12-14 hours or more and wages that don't even support the cost of basic living.
    We all know that as Latin American countries gained their independence, the U.S. was quick to form relationships with countries of the region and offer them aid and assistance in a way that some have characterized as neocolonialism. The U.S. helped Central America develop an agro-industry model to serve the interests of U.S. corporations, agrarian bourgeoisie, and Central American oligarchies (Faber 193). Central American countries began producing only one or two major crops, which forced them to intensify their dependency on the U.S. (Ibid. 51). The expansion of the capitalist export agriculture gave the U.S. virtually unlimited and unrestricted access to the region’s rich natural resources (Ibid. 193).

    Lou Dobbs and Rep. Tom Tancredo neglect to talk about these issues. No time is spent thinking or considering that we may be to blame for this problem of mass migration.

    June 25, 2007 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  6. Anonymous

    lets stop calling them illegal immigrants.Their diversity makes them illegal entrants. how about denying all illegal entrants,including spouses and children,citizenship and any access to any government benefits during their life-time. this measure might halt their desire to come here.this policy should be posted in all countries funneling in these illegal entrants by all media (radio,tv,papers,magazines,etc.)there.the cost of such media pronouncements would be insignificant against the costs of supplying the care they get once they have entered the USA undocumented.

    June 25, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. Pete, Tarpon Springs, FL

    No! Is the word most American Citizens use when asked about this ridiculous bill. Yet the “decider” and the idiot’s that support him are saying yes. Maybe the time has come to get rid of all of them. Hey! I heard contractors in Iraq are hiring.

    We must secure and enforce our border first! And yes we can round up the criminals and deport them. One at a time!

    June 25, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. David, Gilbert Arizona

    It's a no brainer why people come to the United States illegally. No one is denying these basic truths, that people coming to the United States are hoping for a better life style than they have in their country of origin.

    Another basic truth is that the United States cannot change the economic dynamics in those other countries. Sure, we can put pressure on them by denying contributions or economic sanctions but that only makes the hardships worse.

    The United States can contribute economically to those countries of origin but the underlying corruption within many of those governments makes it clear the financial aid will not reach those in need.

    If the United States ever hopes to curb illegal immigration it must take a firm stance on existing law. Employers that actively knowingly employ illegal immigrants should be charged with a crime. We cannot enforce laws in other countries. We can only enforce our own laws. If there are no jobs for the illegal immigrant they will not come to the United States.

    Morally we should be ashamed of ourselves for taking advantage of the hardships that go on in other countries. The guest worker program is a clear indication of our greed. Let the worker come to the United States and pick our lettuce then send him back home with meager wages. The concept is tragically appauling.

    June 25, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |